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Old Feb 24, 2013, 07:47 PM   #1
GeoffWillis
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Office for Mac, or in Fusion?

Hi all,
Quick question about using MS Office in the Mac world. I recently made the jump from Windows to Mac and really love it. I have a 2012 MBP with 16 GB, and just bought a Mac Mini (16 GB as well). Problem is I still need to work with MS products (Word/PowerPoint/Excel) for work, and have decided to bite the bullet and buy the MS tool vs Pages/Numbers/KeyNote to ensure compatibility. But in reading the forums, Seems most people use the Mac version of office, but was wondering the pros/cons of using a VM (I have VM Ware Fusion). I'm trying to decide which to buy, the Mac version or the Windows version that I could run in a VM. Of course I'll have to buy 2 copies (Ouch), but I don't see a way around that. So, all things being equal, which should I buy? Appreciate any advice.
Geoff
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 07:57 PM   #2
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Office will run fine under a virtual machine.

Pros: Absolute, 100% compatibility with Windows. Nothing at all to learn

Cons: It's not a Mac app.

My company's license with Microsoft allows us to purchase Office for personal use at $10, so I have Office Mac at home. I use Outlook for mail (really don't like Apple Mail) and Word and Excel for personal use. But office stuff I use my MS version while remoting into my work computer.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:15 PM   #3
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I got Office for $10 through the home use program. I hate it. I prefer Pages, Numbers and Keynote or (freeware) LibreOffice.

I have win xp and win 7 virtualboxes but almost never fire them up. If you decide you want the windows version of Office, I suggest virtualbox (freeware) or vmware or parallels over bootcamp. BTW you still need a windows license.

When I went Mac, I went cold turkey and cut all ties with windows for home use. I have windows at work if I really need it and I have those virtualboxes for rare tinkering.
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 08:47 PM   #4
GeoffWillis
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Originally Posted by r0k View Post
I got Office for $10 through the home use program. I hate it. I prefer Pages, Numbers and Keynote or (freeware) LibreOffice.

I have win xp and win 7 virtualboxes but almost never fire them up. If you decide you want the windows version of Office, I suggest virtualbox (freeware) or vmware or parallels over bootcamp. BTW you still need a windows license.

When I went Mac, I went cold turkey and cut all ties with windows for home use. I have windows at work if I really need it and I have those virtualboxes for rare tinkering.
I also went "Cold Turkey" as far as personal use, but since I work in an "Office" environment, I need 100% compatibility for work products (Proposals, white papers, tech reports...). I will probably buy a copy of Pages, you can't beat the price, but will have to have word/powerpoint/excel as well. Just trying to determine which approach is better, "Native Mac", or in a VM? Intuitively, I would think using Office for Mac would consume less resources (No overhead of the VM). But, is there an advantage of running Office in a windows VM?
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Old Feb 24, 2013, 09:36 PM   #5
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For me....

if you want full compatibility go with the Office Windows version in a virtual machine. One upside is VMs eat up a big chunk of computer resources (RAM, HDD and so on). Also, check if your peripherals work nice in the VM version (scanners, printers and so on).


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Old Feb 25, 2013, 08:17 AM   #6
r0k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoffWillis View Post
I also went "Cold Turkey" as far as personal use, but since I work in an "Office" environment, I need 100% compatibility for work products (Proposals, white papers, tech reports...). I will probably buy a copy of Pages, you can't beat the price, but will have to have word/powerpoint/excel as well. Just trying to determine which approach is better, "Native Mac", or in a VM? Intuitively, I would think using Office for Mac would consume less resources (No overhead of the VM). But, is there an advantage of running Office in a windows VM?
Geoff
If you don't mind littering your Mac with 15 GB or so of cruft, a Windows VM gives you 100% compatibility. A lot of users consider office for Mac better than the version on Windows but again if compatibility is paramount, there's no substitute for having WinXP, 7 or 8 running in a virtualbox with a full copy of Office for Windows.

I have heard that Office runs quite well in Crossover, which is an emulation environment based on Wine and you don't need a Windows license and while Crossover isn't free, you don't end up allocating as much disk space to Windows.

As for resources, we are talking about word processing here. I did my Master's degree on a 25 Mhz 386 computer. That would easily run inside a VM on any smartphone these days. So yes a VM uses more resources but it's no big deal as MS Office (or any other Office app) doesn't require much resources.

If you want the "cleanest" setup, Office for Mac is a good choice but there have been compatibility issues over the years. For instance, there was a version that did not understand MS Office VB macros. I believe it was 2008. So the choice is up to you. Take the simpler, cleaner route of using Office for Mac and assume the risk of the rare and occasional compatibility issue, or deal with installing a Windows VM on your Mac and use Office for Windows.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 09:12 AM   #7
GeoffWillis
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Thanks for inpu

rOK, appreciate the advice. Was considering the VM approach, but having to buy two copies of windows, and two copies of Office would really hurt. I think I can live with the occasional conflict between Mac Office and the version my company uses. To be honest, I wan't looking forward to having to install Windows on my Macs, I just left that environment and don't want to go back! Two copies of Mac Office aint' cheap, but will allow me to toss my HP laptop that I use for work related activities at home.
Thanks all,
Geoff
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 09:24 AM   #8
Efrem
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I have both, but for reasons unrelated to yours so I won't go into that.

I'd say there are two reasons to run Office for Windows: (1) if you need Access or (2) if you plan to do a lot with VBA in Excel.

Mac versions of Office do not have Access. If that's a requirement, you have no choice. However, you didn't mention Access in your original post, so I'm guessing that's not a factor.

Office for Mac supports VBA. If you'll just use it to automate calculations, using and outputting data in Excel cells, you should be fine. In my experience, though, there are some low-level incompatibilities in interface elements and things like building graphs by fiddling with their parameters. It's probably possible to create a VBA application that does these things and is truly cross-platform, but it may be a hassle you'd rather avoid.

Other than those, if you're just going to do standard things with Word, Excel and PowerPoint, I'd go for the Mac version for system-wide consistency. One difference you may notice is that font metrics on the two are slightly different. This can affect line breaks, page breaks and so on when a document is moved from one platform to the other, in either direction. Slide text that fit nicely may spill outside the desired area, hide or get hidden behind a graphic, and other things like that. It won't happen often enough to be a problem, but you should be aware that it can. (In Word, if the people who create documents know how to use formatting tools, it won't hurt the appearance of a document even though it may change it. The problems show up when people do things like using repeated spaces for horizontal formatting or repeated returns for vertical formatting. That may be a mark of their inability to use the software properly, but it does happen.)
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 09:26 AM   #9
James Craner
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It depends on what applications you use and how much you collaborate with other users.

In Office 2011 for Mac, Microsoft really improved the compatibility with Office for Windows 2010. If your main focus is Word processing (word) with some spreadsheet and powerpoint use the Office for Mac is fine.

If you are a heavy spreadsheet user (I am an accountant), then you may want to consider the Windows version operating in a virtual machine. The reason is the calculation engine in the Mac version of Excel, is noticeably slower than the Windows version. You will only notice this if you have large pivot tables or spreadsheets with lots of lookup formula.

The other area is different standards of embedded graphics in Powerpoint between Mac and Windows versions office. Also differences in Fonts between the two platforms. This can mean that moving between the two OS's can cause small visual differences - that normally are most visible in Powerpoint.

Don't get me wrong most of the time compatibility is fine, but from time to time you will come across small differences that will require a little tweaking.

Office for Windows runs fine under a virtual machine like Parallels, and you can run Parallels in 'coherence' mode, which actually hides the Windows UI, and makes running office feel like you are running it native on OS X, with full access to all your local OS X files and folders.
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Old Feb 25, 2013, 07:57 PM   #10
GeoffWillis
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Jury's In

Thanks to all, Looks like Mac Office will fit my needs just fine. I don't need access, (Use MySQ, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB). I just need compatibility with products (Proposals, tech reports...) generated by tech writers at the office. I just do simple Excel spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations. I went ahead and downloaded Pages, and the current doc I was working on looks great, just a few font issues. So, I'll have both pages, and Mac Office. Thanks for all the input.
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